Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Arts Are Stimulating

Hedy Lamarr pioneered spread-spectrum communication technology
I believe art is its own reward, but that sentiment doesn't seem to win many converts when tough decisions are being made about dwindling economic resources. Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein take a crack at a timely new argument for the instrumental benefits of the arts.
"The fact is that the arts foster innovation. We've just published a study that shows that almost all Nobel laureates in the sciences actively engage in arts as adults. They are twenty-five times as likely as the average scientist to sing, dance, or act; seventeen times as likely to be a visual artist; twelve times more likely to write poetry and literature; eight times more likely to do woodworking or some other craft; four times as likely to be a musician; and twice as likely to be a photographer. Many connect their art to their scientific ability with some riff on Nobel prizewinning physicist Max Planck words: 'The creative scientist needs an artistic imagination.'

Bottom line: Successful scientists and inventors are artistic people. Hobble the arts and you hobble innovation. It's a lesson our legislators need to learn. So feel free to cut and paste this column into a letter to your senators and congressmen, as well as your school representatives, or simply send them a link to this column. One way or another, if we as a society wish to cultivate creativity, the arts MUST be part of the equation!"
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